Come celebrate today at the State House an area of public policy in which Rhode Island is leading the nation: protecting the rights of homeless people. That’s right, as the rest of the nation moves toward outlawing homelessness and sleeping in public places, the Ocean State is the first in the country to pass a homeless bill of rights.
“On the one hand it is a shame that we need a law like this to stop bigotry and discrimination,” said the law’s author, John Joyce, co-founder of the Homeless Advocacy Project who once lived on the streets himself. “But on the other hand it is wonderful that Rhode Island passed this law and took a stand against such discrimination.”
The celebration is at 1:30, and Gov. Chafee will be there.
Speaking of being homeless, a new luxury condo development proposed for a rural area of Barrington could leave the endangered diamondback terrapins that leave nearby without a place to live … it’s high time we decide as a culture that human profit cannot trump the rights of other living things to simply exist.
In North Kingstown, its the school janitors who may end being on the streets, as the School Committee has fired 26 custodial workers and plans to replace them by outsourcing the work to a private company, which says it will hire back the laid-off employees at “the company’s ‘enhanced wage,'” according to North Kingstown Patch. By the way, “enhanced wage” = less health benefits and no collective bargaining rights. This is nothing more union-busting, and the NK School Committee should be ashamed to employ such a tactic.
The MaddowBlog reacts to conservative Woonsocket Rep Jon Brien’s assertion that he didn’t support the supplemental tax bill because it would be easier to win concessions if the situation was more dire. “What the ALEC lawmaker is describing is government by fear. The policy choice is between trying to fix a city by starving it or reinvesting in it.”
Congrats to Rhode Island for finally updating its public records law, and thanks to Common Cause RI for working so hard on its passage … that said, it is patently ridiculous that elected officials emails and other written communications are exempt from the law. This is the exact stuff that should be covered, and we trust that John Marion of Common Cause will be back in the halls of the State House next year fighting for further reform.